As the weather becomes more accommodating to outside activities, you can take your technology — devices and apps — with you.
Now that spring is finally here, it’s time to venture outside again. And there are a number of noteworthy devices to help you on your journey, whether it’s to your backyard or farther afield.
Powerbeats2 Wireless, $200: Beats updated its Powerbeats headphones last year to offer Bluetooth capability, saying the design of the new headphones, the Powerbeats2 Wireless, was inspired by LeBron James.
Whether you’re king of the court or just out for a walk, Powerbeats2 headphones make it easier to exercise without getting tangled in wires. The headphones hook over the ear and come with four pairs of ear tips. An adjustable cable, which includes a remote control and microphone, rests out of the way behind the neck.
Beats headphones typically emphasize the bass, but I found that the Powerbeats2 headphones offer a more balanced sound. And because the headphones let in ambient sounds, I felt safe exercising outdoors.
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Garden Plan Pro, $8: Whether it’s herbs in the windowsill or tomatoes in the backyard, a garden requires logistical preparation and careful management. The Garden Plan Pro app for the iPad and iPhone helps with the planning stages, like choosing the right plants and determining proper crop rotation and allows gardeners to take those plans into the garden.
Using the app’s extensive database of plants, gardeners can sketch out their growing area. As they add plants, the app shows how many will fit, how to space them and where to place them. Once the plan is complete, the app looks up the nearest weather station to determine the best planting times and creates a schedule to keep the garden on track.
Otterbox Symmetry, $40: Otterbox smartphone cases are designed to offer durable protection, but they can also be bulky, awkward to install and difficult to slide in and out of your pocket.
Fortunately, the company has introduced a slimmer line of colorful cases for spring called Symmetry. The cases are constructed with a hard outer shell and a rubber inner lining that are fused together in a single piece to provide protection from bumps, drops and scratches.
The Symmetry cases, available for Apple and Samsung phones, include a beveled edge as an added buffer for the screen and come in bright, vibrant designs, including one from fashion journalist Nina Garcia.
Quad Lock Bike Kit, $70:The Quad Lock Mounting System from Annex Products, which was started as a crowdfunded project in Australia in 2012, is an easy way to secure a smartphone to a bike, car or even your arm.
The bike kit includes a mount that can be fastened to a bike’s handlebars with a few simple O-rings (optional zip ties are also included) The phone is sealed in a slim but durable case, which locks onto the mount with a click.
The case protects the phone from dust, dirt and water while still allowing access to the buttons, camera and touch screen, although you may have to press a little harder when texting.
Fugoo Sport, $200: Rugged Bluetooth speakers make it easier to take your music with you as you venture outside. With models like Style, Sport and Tough, Fugoo speakers are designed for a range of outdoor uses. Each speaker has the same core technology, including six internal drivers — two tweeters, two woofers and two passive radiators — that offer a full, dynamic sound.
Customizable jackets determine the look of the speaker and enhance its durability, offering added protection from dust, dirt, mud and water. Fugoo claims its battery lasts up to 40 hours, making it one of the longest-lasting speakers on the market.
Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi Range Extender, $170: Even the best routers can have trouble sending signals through walls. A Wi-Fi range extender like the Nighthawk AC1900 can help solve that problem by improving the reliability of your wireless network.
The Nighthawk AC1900 picks up your router’s signal and repeats it, sending a stronger signal to the corners of your home and even outside.
How strong? Netgear says the AC1900 is capable of speeds up to 1,900 megabits per second. Setup is easy, and the AC1900 also has five gigabyte-Ethernet ports to connect wired devices.